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Long Tail Keywords: how to get TONS of traffic from ‘unpopular’ search queries

It’s time to reconsider how we think about long tail keywords. And it’s also time to reevaluate the process we use to research them.
Search Google for ‘long tail keywords’, click on a result in the top 10, and you’ll get a definition that goes something like this:
You’ll also get a crazy long process for finding long tails to target, which will normally involve:
  • lots of manual Google searches;
  • multiple tools;
  • lots of ‘rinsing and repeating’;
  • huge spreadsheets;
  • hours of ‘exhaustive’ research;
  • trying to shoehorn these keywords into your header tags and content
But you know what?
These articles are all out of date.
And the research processes are a complete waste of time.
Now don’t get me wrong:
Long tail keywords are still super important for SEO.
But these days:
Finding (and ranking for) them is simple.
In a moment I’ll show you how. But let’s start with that definition.

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are the search queries with very low individual search volume, but an enormous total search demand as a group. The name comes from the “long tail” of the so-called “search demand curve” — a graph, that plots all keywords by their search volumes.
As a general rule (but not necessary), these keywords tend to be longer and more specific than more commonly searched for keywords.

Most definitions for long tail keywords start with some arbitrary length.
Depending on which article you read, that length might be 3 words+, 4+, 5+…
Um… so which is it?
Well actually, the correct answer is none of the above.
Because the thing that makes a keyword long tail or not has nothing to do with length (although admittedly you won’t find many 2 word long tails).
So if it’s not about length, then what is it about?

What Really Makes A Keyword Long Tail?

There are two elements that truly make a keyword long tail:
  1. Search volume
  2. Specificity
And actually, the two go hand in hand.
Because the more specific you get with a search phrase, the less volume there is likely to be.
In fact, many long tails will have ZERO existing search volume. That’s because around 16–20% of daily Google searches are for completely new phrases that have NEVER been searched for before.
Which might make you think that they are a waste of time.
But you would be wrong.
Because while individual volumes are low, long tail keywords actually make up around 40% of all search traffic on the web.
So even though individual volume is low, the fact there are so many phrase combinations (probably an infinite number), means that the collective volume is high.
And as a bonus, because they tend to be very specific, long tail keywords can be great for conversions.

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